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LUMISTAR INFRARED IMAGING NEWS

By Lumistar's Chief Scientist

August 15, 2014

Thermal Cameras Catch Heat During Social Interactions

LumistarBlog-ThermalFace

Using thermal imaging cameras, researchers at the University of St Andrews (St Andrews, UK) Perception Lab, have found that when heterosexual women interact socially with men, it causes a noticeable rise in the temperature of their faces. University scientists studied temperature changes in only women for this report.  The study was conducted to see if interpersonal social contact can elicit facial temperature changes as studies in the past dealt with other forms of emotional arousal such as fear and stress. Thermal responses were measured using a thermal imager with thermal sensitivity (NETD): less than 80 mK, 1 frame per 75 s. Object emissivity was set at 0.98, the standard value for skin. Infrared images were taken during a standardized interaction with a same- and opposite-sex experimenter using skin contact in a number of potentially high–intimate (face and chest) and low–intimate (arm and palm) locations. When peer-aged male laboratory agents touched heterosexual female participants on the face or chest the test subjects showed major (more than one degree Celsius) temperature responses on the face. What was surprising is that women’s facial temperature increased by one degree Celsius during any interaction with the male experimenter, using the thermal camera to record the observation. When other women laboratory agents did the tests on these same women subjects,  gender alone influenced the reaction of women, who showed no thermal response to interaction with other women.  Researchers hope to use this data to eventually develop a lie detector test for national security purposes. Studies show increases in temperature occur on the forehead when lying. “Thermal imaging offers new possibilities in the study of psychological responses to social interactions and is of particular interest in the context of mating signals.” Or maybe it will be used by social networks if infrared seeking cameras are incorporated into computing devices like your phone as a standard feature.

More information on the research can be found here.